Sochi, the place for 2014 Winter Olympics. I want to begin my post with a painting by one of my favorite artists of all time, Arshile Gorky. The painting is called Garden of Sochi. Although he used the name Gorky, he was really not related to Russian writer as he'd claimed. Gorky was actually Armenian, and he'd witnessed his mom died of starvation during the Armenian genocide. He later immigrated to US and began using the name Arshile Gorky. He was considered Abstract Expressionist, but visibly with the influence of surrealism. After working years in style of Cezanne and Picasso, he arrived at the place that seem so intensely personal to me. He is one of the artists that took me a little while to come to really, really love his work.
I usually skip watching summer Olympics, but I love watching winter sports.
This year, I'm most excited about the new event Snowboard Slopestyle. I can't get enough watching the amazing young talents doing their big air jumps and spins. Among many Olympians from this area, we have 3 locals for snowboard slopestyle, Jamie Anderson, women's slopestyle, a native from our very own town here at south shore of Tahoe! and Chaz Guldemond, men's slopestyle in snowboarding who now lives in Reno, and Karly Shorr from Truckee.
I'd tried the beginner terrain park at ski resorts a few times, but I quickly realized I was both too old and too much of a chicken to really hit it. Once, on my third mini jump I landed on my face very hard. Not only was it so painful, it was really embarrassing when these 5 or 6 year old skiiers skied by and asked me, "Are you OK?" as I sat there packing snow on my face. I enjoy watching halfpipe, but slopestyle is so much more fun to watch with the variety of the courses. I'm totally in awe of these boarders. I cannot even imagine the kind of gut and the practice they do to get that much air and that much rotations. The most awesome thing to me is that they sure always look like they're having the time of their lives doing the tricks.
I really have respect for the Olympian athletes. They don't just rest on talent, the practice, the mental training, the way they give 100% into doing what they love, goes way beyond the few minutes of glory.
Unfortunately, the political stances of Russia and Sochi really put a damper on the fun and celebration of all these young athletes coming together to give their 100%.
I have a pattern called "Slopestyle", I'd like to take this opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the world we live in and embrace all. We're all in it for a short time, why not enjoy each other's company? I'll be donating 100% of my sales of both Slopestyle and First Snow Mittens to International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission on Feb 7th (open ceremony day), Feb 8th (men's slopestyle), Feb 9th (women's slopestyle), and Feb 23rd (closing ceremony). If you feel like making the contribution while getting a pattern out of it, there are many other designers doing it too. Here is a list of some of the designers on the blog of "Where the Red-winged Blackbird Flies."